Program improves kids' reading skills

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, some Lakeshore Middle School students skip study hall for one-on-one tutoring.

In February, art teacher Kathy Sedberry and the Professional Learning Community team launched "Open Doors for a Lifetime."

The program, designed by Sedberry, uses volunteers to improve sixth-graders' reading skills.

After a recent tutorial session, volunteers discussed their reasons for participating in the program. Keela Hutchinson, Betty Onsrud and Melissa Mock all have children who attend Lakeshore.

Many parents find that their opportunities to volunteer decline as their children enter middle school.

"It's another way to become involved as a parent and to be visible as a parent," Mock said. Although she teaches reading part time at Lake Norman Elementary School, Mock wants to use her time to freely give knowledge to someone.

Hutchinson, who sought a challenge, teaches 4-year-olds at a preschool. She and volunteer Sue Gemmell, whose children are grown, see a need for community involvement in schools.

Onsrud had contemplated teaching illiterate adults. Instead, she's found a niche tutoring a bright student who needs additional help.

Allison Moore, a college student majoring in English, has a son in high school. After reading my February column about Sedberry's program, Moore pursued her interest to tutor. She and her students sometimes empathize about struggles with schoolwork.

All the volunteers agree they look at language differently because of their tutoring experiences. Along with a significant increase in confidence, students' abilities to decode and recognize words by sight have improved.

"Community involvement is the key to bridge the gap between school and home," Sedberry said. She said she expects the program will continue next year, and she hopes to recruit more volunteers.

Spring Artfest

Amateur and professional artists are invited to enter original work in the Mooresville Art Guild's annual show. The exhibit runs May 3-28 at the Depot.

Since it's not a juried event and all entries will be displayed, beginning artists have a perfect opportunity to gain recognition.

"The Spring Artfest is a wonderful opportunity for regional artists to gain exposure," said Janeen Pendergast, chairperson of the festival.

Ellen Patterson, president of the guild, said the exhibit also is a good place for the public to find affordable art. Most paintings will be for sale.

Cash prizes, including $500 for Best of Show, will be awarded. Pauline Dove Lamal, retired program chair of the visual arts department at Central Piedmont Community College, will judge entries.

Speedball Art Products, a sponsor, will award additional prizes for entries created using Speedball products.

Winners will be recognized at a 6 p.m. reception May 13 sponsored by Lake Norman Realty. Entry forms are available at

Art classes

The guild offers beginning and advanced art classes during the day. Patterson said the guild would like to expand and offer evening classes. Anyone interested in teaching a class should call 704-663-6661.

2011 Youth Art Show

First-place winners in the annual show were first-grader Payton Kelly for "Harvest Still Life" and fourth-grader Skyler Mitchell for "Sparkly Peacock."

Eighth-grader Cheyne Campbell received an award for "Big Ben," and Megan Van Voohries won in the high school category for "Drawing by Night."